A recent post by Sannion on Dionysian televangelism has got me thinking…
I wonder if a number of things that exist and are somewhat taken for granted for major creedal monotheist religions would “work” where it comes to polytheism and modern paganism.
Can we imagine “megacovens” of 20,000 people? Probably not, especially considering that events like PantheaCon draw a fraction of that number, and yet there is no one singular event that everyone goes to and fully cooperates with–except for maybe Pomba Gira (several hundred) or some of T. Thorn Coyle’s workshops (again, several hundred). Thorn is many things, but a megachurch pastor–nope, sorry. (And that’s something in her favor, and a thing to love all the more about her!)
Can we imagine collection plates being passed around at major events or rituals, just for the cost of materials and such? Sometimes, they are, and results come from them. But, it’s awfully hard to pay for candles and incense with “wishes for peace and love and light” that people would no doubt “charge” the plate with in many cases. While those things are nice, if it doesn’t make a sound when it hits the plate (and Ben Franklins do make a sound when they hit a collection plate!), it probably isn’t as helpful as one would need or expect when a collection plate is involved.
Can we imagine old men in suits standing on corners near schools as they get out handing out mass-printed copies of Hesiod to the children on their ways home? And they’d be called something like The Nestors? No, probably not–it would take a lot of money to print them up (see previous paragraph), even cheaply, and I don’t know that M. L. West would give permission to use his translation of it…
Can we imagine a national holiday in late October, with everyone getting the few days before and after Samain off from work? And, live from the Templum Antinoi, Foundation Day rituals on the night of October 30th, where everyone gets to see the story of Antinous’ death and apotheosis and his rituals carried out by various priests and functionaries empowered to do so, with a ceremony in several different languages? Apart from the temple and the television broadcast, the latter already happens whether people like it or not, it’s just there may not be that many eyes focused on it when it happens; but the former? Who knows…it sure would be nice, but it’s a long way off, I think.
But, what I can imagine easily is something that already takes place all the time: Dana Carvey’s character of The Church Lady, only it’s The Grove Lady, The Coven Lady, The Troth Lady, etc.
“Weeeeeeell, hmm, let’s see…Who put you up to that? Could it have been, oh, maybe, I don’t know, perhaps…
Weeeeeeeell, isn’t that special?”